The University Center for Human Values' Graduate Prize Fellows for 2022-2023

May 16, 2022

Henry Gomory is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology and the Office of Population Research. His research interests include political economy and urban inequality, and his dissertation explores the changing composition of American landlords and the effects this is having on renters. His dissertation work uses large administrative datasets, including administrative tax records describing rental properties and corporate filings describing business officers and locations, to “pierce the corporate veil” and identify the true owners of rental properties. This work focuses on the metropolitan areas centered around Boston, Baltimore, Miami, and Houston, allowing a comparative analysis of landlord characteristics. In addition to publishing in academic journals, Henry aims to make this dataset available to the public, to more broadly disseminate information about landlords that may be of interest to tenant organizers and other public stakeholders. Before coming to Princeton, Henry earned his B.A. in Sociology, with a minor in Statistics, from Harvard University.

Rami Koujah is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies specializing in the study of Islamic law and legal theory. His dissertation is on the intellectual history of legal personhood in Islamic jurisprudence — who (or what) counts as a person in the eyes of the law — and its entanglement with philosophical, political, and theological issues. As a fundamental category of law, analyzing the legal construction(s) of personhood interrogates basic assumptions about what the law is, who it is for, and how it reflects metaphysical realities and social imaginaries. Further, Rami's dissertation considers whether, and the extent to which, a person is considered different from a human being, and how this distinction structures legal, social, and political norms. Given that personhood remains a hotly contested designation, both explicitly and implicitly — explicitly through debates on the personhood of animals, the environment, and artificial intelligence, and implicitly through rights and recognition afforded to the politically dispossessed — Islamic legal discourses can help us reimagine alternative ways of thinking about our and others' humanity and place in the world. Rami received a B.A. and M.A. from UCLA, M.St. from Oxford University, and J.D. from Stanford Law School.

Gabriel Levine is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Politics. His dissertation examines the intellectual history of environmental law in the twentieth-century United States. Gabe argues that environmental law uneasily synthesized two distinct strands of thought: one emphasizing efficient regulation of pollution; the other, court-centered citizen activism. Drawing from this history, and from neglected perspectives in environmental thought, he proposes an alternative, “infrastructural” account of environmental law. This account, Gabe argues, can usefully supplement yesterday’s synthesis in responding to today’s climate crisis. Gabe’s other research interests include property theory and its history; local-government law; and constitutional law and theory. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from Yale Law School.

Linda McNulty Perez is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the Classics department. Her research activity is broadly concerned with the relationship between religion, political power, and artistic production. Her dissertation argues for Homeric poetry’s role in shaping non-elite discourses about political and religious agency in 6th and 5th century Athens. Before arriving at Princeton, she was a McNair Scholar at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Mary Nickel joined the doctoral program in Religion, Ethics, and Politics in Princeton's Religion Department in 2016. Her work integrates theological ethics with political theory and social ontology. Her dissertation, “Matrices,” focuses on what pregnancy and motherhood can teach us about human agency. The thesis of the project is that pregnancy simultaneously illuminates our social constitution and our discreteness as individuals. Mary is also interested in surveying religious and theological resources for theorizing about collective responsibility and reparative justice. She holds an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, an M.A. in Politics & Government from Illinois State University, and a B.A. in Human Rights Studies & Philosophy from Juniata College. 

Elliot Salinger is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy working primarily in metaethics. His dissertation develops a theory of moral subject matter—what it is that moral language and thought are about—to address several longstanding problems in moral philosophy, including the relationship between different anti-realist accounts of moral language and the purported independence of metaethics from normative ethics. The dissertation’s methodology is to conduct metaethical inquiry by drawing from considerations internal to our normative ethical practice, especially those from the theory of moral worth. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, Elliot received an A.B. in philosophy from Princeton in 2017 as well as an M.Phil in philosophy from the University of Cambridge in 2018.

Yoav Schaefer is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Religion. His research interests include philosophy, European intellectual history, and Jewish thought. His dissertation explores the early Jewish reception of Kantian philosophy, focusing in particular on Salomon Maimon’s influential (Kantian) interpretation of the medieval Jewish philosopher Maimonides. Before arriving at Princeton, Yoav earned a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University and studied Jewish philosophy and history at Tel Aviv University.  

Margaret Shea is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy. Her research concerns the metaphysical and ethical dimensions of agency, with a focus on moral psychology and mental ontology. Her dissertation considers what role mental states – like desire and intention – should play in a metaphysically and scientifically tenable conception of human action; when actions and mental states should be subject to moral evaluation; and what, in light of the foregoing, we have reason to do. Shea has additional research interests in normative ethics and aesthetics. She received her B.A. from Brown University.

Ophelia Vedder is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Politics department. She specializes in political theory, with interests in feminist theory and liberalism. Her dissertation is on gender abolition and explores whether a future without gender offers an appealing vision of gender justice. Her additional research projects include an investigation into the compatibility between political liberalism and certain feminist aims and a new approach to thinking normatively about our current crisis in care. Before coming to Princeton she spent a year in Madrid, Spain on a Fulbright scholarship; before that, she received her B.A. from Reed College. 

Jiseob Yoon is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics. She specializes in ancient Greek political thought and Athenian democracy. Her dissertation explores the role of law in Plato’s political philosophy: it shows how Plato’s idea of law, a relatively left unnoticed yet crucial aspect of Plato’s political philosophy, is in harmony with other parts of his thoughts that are more familiar to us and examines how Plato’s idea of law can be understood from the perspective of modern jurisprudence. Her research interests extend to the role of emotions in politics and the comparison between Classical Greek and Classical Chinese philosophy. Before coming to Princeton, Jiseob received her B.A. in Political Science and in Philosophy and M.A. in Political Science from Seoul National University.